As many of you have seen, WACOSA has been in the headlines as of late due to the closure of Electrolux’s St. Cloud, MN plant. Below are some links to various news sources who have covered the story, as well as the official press release from WACOSA. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to Ann Kennedy, WACOSA’s Sales, Marketing and Communication’s Manager at 320-257-5191 or firstname.lastname@example.org
WACOSA’s Press Release:
St. Cloud Electrolux Closure Impacts over 300 Adults with Disabilities at WACOSA
Waite Park, MN 03/01/2019 – Electrolux closing its facilities in St. Cloud, MN, with an end date of around December 2019, will affect an estimated 900 employees who work for Electrolux in St. Cloud. The closure will affect a lot more of the Central MN community than those who worked in Electrolux’s freezer manufacturing facilities, to include over 300 adults with disabilities who work at WACOSA, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to provide adults with disabilities the opportunity to live and work in their community”.
WACOSA has been assembling and packaging parts for Electrolux at WACOSA’s Waite Park, MN and Sauk Centre, MN production facilities for over 15 years. In addition to Electrolux, other work performed by WACOSA workers for companies who are suppliers to Electrolux will be cancelling those contracts as well. The impact of the closure will mean the loss of approximately $280,000 in revenue for WACOSA, along with the significant job loss that client workers will experience.
“This is all I know, this is what I do for a living,” states David, a WACOSA worker who has been working on the Electrolux contract for nearly 15 years. “I’m ready for something new, I still want to work. Please help us find more work.” David’s reaction to the closure is common amongst WACOSA workers who are a fiercely dedicated workforce.
WACOSA works with over 500 area businesses, assembling or packaging over 9.25 million pieces annually. However, no single contract comes close to the work that will be lost due to Electrolux’s closing. Since the announcement of the closure, WACOSA has held monthly meetings that focus on immediate strategies to replace the work. Additionally, WACOSA is increasing its sales force and completing a new strategic plan that will guide the organization over the next 5 years. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can be,” WACOSA’s Executive Director, Steve Howard states. “We will do just about anything we can to keep our people working. We’ve got a strong and motivated workforce. Our client workers may be “differently abled” but they are very able, none-the-less.”
“While this is a difficult situation, WACOSA remains optimistic about the future,” says Ann Kennedy, WACOSA’s Sales Manager. “We have seen an increase of work from our existing customers who understand the value we provide. But, more than that, we’ve seen our community wrap its arms around WACOSA with a desire to help. My number one job now is to educate area manufacturers and businesses about the exceptionally high quality work we do at WACOSA, along with how our workforce we can assist them to meet their business goals.”
Howard wants the community to know that WACOSA realizes we are only one part of this complex and challenging situation. “This situation is a painful time of adjustment and uncertainty for so many workers in our community. We realize we are but one part of this situation. WACOSA wishes to support everyone being displaced. We just want everyone to keep in mind how hard this is also hitting the individuals with barriers to employment that we serve”.